Half a million children under-5 to be vaccinated against measles in Côte d'Ivoire
Over 500,000 under-5 children are targeted for the vaccination campaign in response to a Measles epidemic in the Sud-Comoe region.
Abidjan, 11 February 2011 (WHO/UNICEF) – Over 500,000 under-5 children will be vaccinated against Measles from 16 to 25 February 2011 in response to the ongoing epidemic in the Sud-Comoe region of Cote d’Ivoire, specifically in the Adiake and Aboisso health districts. The Measles campaign will be accompanied with immunization against yellow fever.
A Measles epidemic is declared in the Adiake health district in an area neighboring the Aboisso district. The investigation conducted by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO and UNICEF has confirmed 47 cases with one death, most of whom were under-5 children (78.7%) with 87.2% if them not vaccinated against the disease. The risk of expansion to other health districts is very high.
“The current humanitarian situation is favorable for the appearance of epidemics. Routine vaccinations which should strengthen the immune system of children against these diseases are not regular and that makes them venerable. It’s imperative to react quickly against epidemics to protect children and break the transmission chain” said Dr Mamadou D. Ball, WHO Representative in Cote d’Ivoire.
“The reappearance of epidemics like Measles is a consequence of the humanitarian crisis worsening day after day in Cote d’Ivoire” said Dr Agostino Paganini, Representative of UNICEF ad interim in Cote d’Ivoire. “Our priority is to act quickly to avoid the spread of epidemics in the whole country. We are also working to avoid a collapse of the basic health care system and to strengthen routine vaccination.”
Measles is a deadly infectious disease for children. Immunization against this disease is part of the routine vaccination schedule in Cote d’Ivoire, but the lasting political stalemate is affecting health care in the whole country with consequences on routine vaccination. A national immunization campaign is expected as soon as the cold chain is restored nationwide to allow dispatching and storing of vaccines.
The confirmed numbers of Measles cases in Cote d’Ivoire has risen for the past three years. 22 cases were confirmed in 2008, 183 in 2009 and 433 in 2010. The number of health districts in epidemic status has also increased from zero (0) in 2008, to 10 in 2009 and 15 in 2010.
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